Control systems in free-to-play

Original author: Ramin Shokrizade
  • Transfer
Control systems were all the time the existence of civilization. You could even say that control systems define civilization. Ancient control systems tended to encourage a huge difference in welfare levels, with the king and close noblemen controlling the vast majority of the country's wealth. Maintaining such a difference in wealth is very expensive, since the military force needed to maintain it grows exponentially with increasing inequality.

Therefore, advanced societies tried to follow one of two ways to maintain control. One way is to reduce the difference in wealth and demobilize the army. This increases per capita productivity, because the military alone does not make a profit in ways other than looting. But if a warlike neighbor threatens you, then this option is not suitable.

Another way to maintain control is to make control less obvious, more subtle. When a person comes to the casino, he is offered the opportunity to play and win the jackpot. Of course, the fact that in the end the casino is always a plus, and that winning one person means losing many other people, is silent, these details are often hidden under several layers that you need to understand before you understand what is really happening.

When a person says that he "owns" his house, but at the same time has a 30-year mortgage, the situation is far from property. The bank owns the house, and the bank allows residents to stay there for 30 years, provided that they agree to fully pay about five times the amount of the loan over the term. If the debt is not paid in full, then the real owner (bank) will evict the tenants and all the money deposited will be confiscated, even if they exceed the original loan amount.

It is not surprising that the true state of affairs is never explained this way when you “buy a house” or visit a casino, because these are control systems that benefit from ignorance of the victim. The more difficult the control conditions, the easier it is to hide them. Technology constantly simplifies this task. If a debt collector had to come to your home every month to get a rent, then the system would look and feel like feudalism. Modern technologies make it possible to automatically and painlessly withdraw money from a bank account every month without the need for any human interaction.

This allows citizens of modern society to feel "free." And although they really can get more freedoms (possibly at the expense of others), it depends on the region and caste, and a comprehensive discussion is not necessary for the purposes of this article.

Control dynamics

People generally enjoy a certain control measure. They greet him. Without it, they feel uncomfortable, bewildered. In other words, they will endure control until a certain point, but will rebel if control becomes "excessive." To better understand what’s going on, I’m going to introduce two terms:

Visibility of control (VK) : This is how obvious the control system is to the participant. If A leads to G directly, then VK is high. You can lower the VC by adding intermediate steps that blur their attitude. Thus, having scheme A leads to B leads to B leads to G, you can make the control mechanism between A and G more subtle and effective.

Tolerance to Control (TKK) : How much control a participant can endure or even wish to reflect his TKK. Some people are more tolerant of certain types of control than others, and their TKK may change over time, especially when they learn better complex forms of control that they might not understand the first time. As for example in the diagram above with A and G. Some people notice the relationship between A and G very quickly, even with several intermediate layers of masking. Others may never understand their connection.

Here's what I’m leading to:
If VK> TkK, then the transaction will be held.

If VK> TkK, then the transaction is rejected.

Treating consumers as a disease

In the old days, a game buyer could spend $ 60 to go from A to G and get a game with which he could do anything. Well, you know, in the early Middle Ages of the gaming industry, about ten years ago. Now instead we have something like:

A ---> B (free)

B ---> C (1 dollar)

C ---> D (500 dollars)

Due to the fact that we include here the “free” step from A to B, we call this model “Free to Play”. The second step, from B to C, can be described as “Bait,” because we know that as soon as the consumer has spent any money, no matter how small, he is much more likely to continue to pay. I will call the third step “Hook”, because as soon as we find a buyer who cannot recognize the relationship between B and D, and therefore between A and D, he can be mercilessly milked. For some reason, these players have high TKK, at least at first. Then we try to make our VK as low as possible by masking our monetization in layers. Thus, if we keep VC below TkK for a sufficient number of customers, and we milk them faster than they understand what is happening, we can earn a bunchof money.

In the "real world" there is a system that reflects this well. This is our battle against disease, in which we use antibiotics as a weapon. By hitting diseases with new antibiotics, we can destroy them before they can adapt. If you could eradicate all diseases in a single way this way, it would work in the long run. The problem is that some diseases survive and gradually become more resistant to our antibiotics. Over time, the only new antibiotics available to us will be able to kill us, too, and at this moment we will lose this war despite the victory in so many battles. Another alternative - to eliminate the source of the disease, does not receive serious attention in the United States. That is why in the field of medical care we receive less for our money than in any other country.

Trying to trick our consumers into paying much more than the product they receive, we anger our customers. Over time, their TKK decreases, and they begin to notice the mechanism of "ABVG" much faster. Our industry very quickly chose a strategy where we lower the quality of the product (and the cost of production), but try to increase our profits by introducing the “ABVG” version of F2P. Although I could call this scheme “multilayer F2P,” I think I’ll just call it Force F2P .

So, by my analogy, we feed Forced F2P (antibiotics) to our consumers (illness) in order to make money as quickly and simply as possible. This led to some early victories against the consumer. Here I will take almost all the developers of social games, with rare exceptions. Mobile developers quickly follow the same battle plan.

Note that the current Forced F2P models we use now have been designed and developed in Asia since 2001. There they were successful (and still remain) because their average consumer has a much higher TK. In the West, the average TKK is much lower, and due to the way we treat our consumers, their TKK becomes even lower .

Since consumers have the opportunity not to buy products that they perceive as coercive, and given their TKK (which is decreasing), the end result of such a business strategy will be the extinction of Forced F2P . This trend will take much longer in Asia due to the higher initial TKK. The only option by which this may not happen in the east would be for the state to declare all other business models illegal, which seems unlikely.

Please note that the F2P model itself is not forced. Potentially, F2P can provide incredible opportunities for our consumers. It is possible to explain to consumers in advance how you are going to sell them. I also believe that consumers with low TK are generally richer than consumers with high TK. The problem is not only that the number of convertible consumers using Forced F2P approaches 0%, but also that with a decrease in interest, we intercept the poorest tail of the consumer market. This group can and will give the last money in the east a couple more years, but this whole approach is doomed to extinction.

Also popular now: